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Debt worries 'start at 16,000'

Thursday January 13th 2011

Britons do not consider themselves to have serious financial difficulties until their debts have mounted up to nearly £16,000, according to a survey.

The average person would not be concerned about their finances until they owed £15,837 on loans and credit cards, the poll by Scottish Provident found.

The life insurer said younger people were found to be even more tolerant of debt, with many remaining unconcerned about their level of debt until they had wracked up £16,646.

The figures are a startling indicator of how acceptable debt has become to people, the group said.

The latest figures from the Bank of England show that consumers collectively owed £214 million through credit cards, loans and overdrafts at the end of November.

Personal insolvency numbers are running close to record levels as increasing numbers of people find they are unable to keep up with their debts.

Susan Barclay, head of marketing at Scottish Provident, said: "With the UK's national debt figure dominating the headlines, it appears this could have had an adverse affect on how the nation view their own personal finances.

"To not believe they would be in serious financial difficulty before they reached debt levels of over £15,837 is a worry, and it underlines how debt has become too readily accepted in the UK.

"What starts out as a small level of personal debt can quickly spiral out of control, so Britons should ensure they keep on top of their personal spending."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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